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DE BOECK C.,Ghent University | DEHOLLOGNE C.,Flemish Agency for Care and Health | DUMONT A.,Ghent University | SPIERENBURG M.,Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority | And 4 more authors.
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2015

In July 2013, a Belgian couple were admitted to hospital because of pneumonia. Medical history revealed contact with birds. Eleven days earlier, they had purchased a lovebird in a pet shop in The Netherlands. The bird became ill, with respiratory symptoms. The couple's daughter who accompanied them to the pet shop, reported similar symptoms, but was travelling abroad. On the suspicion of psittacosis, pharyngeal swabs from the couple were taken and sent to the Belgian reference laboratory for psittacosis. Culture and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, and ompA genotyping indicated genotype A in both patients. The patients were treated with doxycycline and the daughter started quinolone therapy; all three recovered promptly. Psittacosis is a notifiable disease in Belgium and therefore local healthcare authorities were informed. They contacted their Dutch colleagues, who visited the pet shop. Seven pooled faecal samples were taken and analysed using PCR by the Dutch national reference laboratory for notifiable animal diseases for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci. Four (57%) samples tested positive, genotyping revealed genotype A. Enquiring about exposure to pet birds is essential when patients present with pneumonia. Reporting to health authorities, even across borders, is warranted to prevent further spread. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 Source


Hens N.,Hasselt University | Hens N.,University of Antwerp | Van Ranst M.,Rega Institute for Medical Research | Aerts M.,Hasselt University | And 4 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2011

In the early phase of an emerging pandemic such as A/H1N1v 2009, it is essential to have a good understanding of its transmissibility, which is often summarized by the reproductive number. Before a country is affected, its government may want to make their own assessment of what is going on in areas of the world that have previously been affected by the disease. However, having access to detailed data is problematic. The only publicly available international dataset with information for a large number of countries was the WHO cumulated case counts per country. In this paper, we show how and in which situations the recorded history of cumulated case counts provides valuable information to estimate the effective reproductive number in an early phase and for a large number of countries. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source


De Boeck C.,Ghent University | Dehollogne C.,Flemish Agency for Care and Health | Dumont A.,Ghent University | Spierenburg M.,Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority | And 6 more authors.
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2016

In July 2013, a Belgian couple were admitted to hospital because of pneumonia. Medical history revealed contact with birds. Eleven days earlier, they had purchased a lovebird in a pet shop in The Netherlands. The bird became ill, with respiratory symptoms. The couple's daughter who accompanied them to the pet shop, reported similar symptoms, but was travelling abroad. On the suspicion of psittacosis, pharyngeal swabs from the couple were taken and sent to the Belgian reference laboratory for psittacosis. Culture and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, and ompA genotyping indicated genotype A in both patients. The patients were treated with doxycycline and the daughter started quinolone therapy; all three recovered promptly. Psittacosis is a notifiable disease in Belgium and therefore local healthcare authorities were informed. They contacted their Dutch colleagues, who visited the pet shop. Seven pooled faecal samples were taken and analysed using PCR by the Dutch national reference laboratory for notifiable animal diseases for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci. Four (57%) samples tested positive, genotyping revealed genotype A. Enquiring about exposure to pet birds is essential when patients present with pneumonia. Reporting to health authorities, even across borders, is warranted to prevent further spread. © Cambridge University Press 2016. Source


Wijnhoven T.M.A.,World Health Organization | Van Raaij J.M.A.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment | Van Raaij J.M.A.,Wageningen University | Spinelli A.,National Institute of Health | And 11 more authors.
Pediatric Obesity | Year: 2013

Background: Nutritional surveillance in school-age children, using measured weight and height, is not common in the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO Regional Office for Europe has therefore initiated the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative. Objective: To present the anthropometric results of data collected in 2007/2008 and to investigate whether there exist differences across countries and between the sexes. © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity. Source


Bertrand S.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | Dierick K.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | Heylen K.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | De Baere T.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

During the summer of 2005, an increase in reports of human cases of Salmonella enterica serovar Ohio infection was observed in Belgium. During 11 weeks, between 1 July and 13 September, 60 cases of laboratory-confirmed Salmonella Ohio infection were reported to the National Reference Centre for Salmonella, with a peak onset of symptoms in the third week of July. All clinical isolates caused self-limiting gastroenteritis; both genders (32 males and 28 females) and all age groups (three children <5 years of age, three children 5 to 14 years of age, 32 adults 15 to 64 years of age, and 22 adults >65 years of age) were affected. The isolates were distributed throughout Belgium but a cluster of several cases was observed around Brussels. At the same time, an increase in the incidence of this serovar was observed in the Salmonella isolates originating from the official surveillance campaign conducted by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, which identified pork as a likely source of the outbreak strain. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing confirmed the clonal relationship between the human isolates, the isolates from samples collected in the cutting plants, and the isolates from pork meat in distribution. Further epidemiological investigations indicated that one particular slaughterhouse was involved. In that slaughterhouse, the carcasses were contaminated during the evisceration process because of contaminated equipment and uncontrolled environmental conditions. This study highlights the importance of a centralized surveillance laboratory in the management of outbreaks and the need of strict implementation of hygienic rules to avoid this type of outbreak. Copyright ©, International Association for Food Protection. Source

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